A man accused of stealing two monkeys from the Dallas Zoo took them for a ride on mass transit after they were snatched from their habitats last month and told police he "loved animals," records show.
Police have asked Dallas Area Rapid Transit to scour security video for any sightings of Davion Irvin, 24, the man suspected in a string of odd zoo break-ins, DART Vice President Gordon Shattles said.
The monkeys were first noticed missing from their enclosure at the Dallas Zoo on Jan. 30. Irvin has told authorities he took them to Lancaster by riding DART on Jan. 29, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant from the Dallas Police Department.
"Irvin informed detectives that he loved animals and that he took the monkeys from the Dallas Zoo," the affidavit says.
Irvin told authorities he waited until dark, then hopped the fence on the south side of the zoo, according to the affidavit. Once inside, he said he cut through the monkeys' enclosure and took them, the affidavit says.
Irvin took the train to University of North Texas at Dallas and walked to an empty home where authorities later discovered he was keeping other animals, including a dozen pigeons and several cats, the affidavit says.
The affidavit doesn't say what Irvin did with the monkeys on the train, but Shattles said they may have been in his backpack.
"From what we're hearing in initial reports, they're very timid creatures, which is probably why they stayed concealed inside a backpack easily," Shattles said.
"I don't believe they posed any danger to the public — very small animals and easily concealable in a regular backpack."
Dallas police spokesperson Kristin Lowman declined to comment on the monkeys' alleged ride on the rails.
"Our office has not released specifics," she said.
Man accused of stealing Dallas Zoo monkeys arrestedFeb. 4, 202301:50
Chief Dallas County Public Defender Lynn Richardson also declined to discuss specifics of the case against her client. However, she said, “we are having him evaluated for mental health issues.”
Irvin was picked up Thursday after he was spotted inside the Dallas World Aquarium before he jumped on DART, officials said.
The stolen monkeys, Bella and Finn, were found Jan. 31 in a bathroom in an empty home in Lancaster.
The creatures were discovered on the property of a church on Gerry Way Street, across the street from “Suspect Irvin’s family house,” a police affidavit says.
Had Irvin not been arrested, more animals might have been stolen by the man charged with two counts of burglary and six counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals, police said. He had plans to swipe more, they said.
Irvin told authorities he would return to the Dallas Zoo once he’s released from jail and try to take more animals, according to the affidavit.
Charges against Irvin are also connected to the Jan. 13 disappearance of Nova, a 3-year-old clouded leopard, who escaped her wire mesh enclosure after it was cut, authorities said. The cat, who the zoo said posed no danger to the public, was found later that day.
During an interview with police, Irvin admitted trying to steal the cat "but could only manage to pet it," the affidavit says.
Irvin has also been accused of cutting open the zoo’s langur monkey habitat; no animals escaped or were taken or harmed, police said.
On Jan. 21, a 35-year-old endangered vulture, Pin, was found dead with what authorities have described as an “unusual wound.” The animal’s cause of death hasn’t been determined, and no one has been charged.